Solberg hits kangaroos and forced out of rally

Overnight leader Petter Solberg of Norway hit a kangaroo on the second stage Saturday and was forced out of Rally Australia, the final stop on this year's world rally championship.

The impact caused severe damage to the front of Solberg's car and its engine. Neither Solberg nor co-driver Phil Mills were injured in the accident, but the kangaroo was killed.

Citroen driver Francois Duval of Belgium, who trailed Solberg by 46 seconds after Friday's opening day, leads the rally after 16 of 26 stages, 23 seconds ahead of Scotland's Colin McRae. Harri Rovanpera of Finland is in third.

There were four more stages remaining Saturday and six scheduled for Sunday. Solberg had a chance to claim second place in the world drivers' championship when Marcus Gronholm was knocked out of the rally on Friday with suspension damage after hitting a rock.

Sebastien Loeb of France, who has already clinched the drivers' title, was also knocked out the rally on Friday when his car hit a tree. Peugeot's No. 2 driver Daniel Carlsson of Sweden was another first-day retirement after his car burst into flames after sliding off the road. Gronholm, Loeb and Carlsson were not injured in the accidents, AP reports.

А. А.

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